Between early Halloween celebrations and quintessential fall fun — and even more beyond that — there are so many fantastic ways to enjoy DC over the next few days. Happy Weekend!
Boo at the Zoo
Where: National Zoo | Woodley Park, DC
When: Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, 5:30-8:30pm
Admission: $20/members, $30/non-members
The National Zoo’s annual not-so-spooky haunt is one of DC’s most popular Halloween events for the kiddie crowd. With more than 40 treat stations (for adults, too!), animal demonstrations, keeper chats, live entertainment (including kids scary-oke), pumpkin carving demos, and decorated trails, this frightfully fun evening is a treat for the whole family. Costumes encouraged!
$2 Family Fun Night
Where: Port Discovery | Baltimore, MD
When: Friday, 4 – 8pm
It’s a special Target $2 Family Fun Night at the children’s museum in Baltimore! Enjoy three floors of interactive exhibits along with fun and engaging programs for just a couple of bucks per person. Join in Circle Time, take part in Create and Read! activities, and learn about animals with the Maryland SPCA. Plus, enjoy a visit from The Maryland Book Bank, who will be providing books to children and families in attendance.
Where: Capitol Hill Arts Workshop | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Friday, 6pm
Admission: $5 suggested donation
Throw caution to the weekend! Conquer the thrilling challenge of juggling with veteran juggler Christian Kloc. This workshop begins with a short demo, moves into some goofy warm-ups, then puts juggling props in your hands and offers pro tips to jumpstart your newfound circus habit. After practicing controlled chaos, put on a show with your fellow jugglers and get the thundering applause you deserve! All ages are welcome. Equipment is provided. Wear comfortable clothes that allow relaxed movements.
Where: Congressional Cemetery | Capitol Hill, DC
When: Friday, 7-10pm & Saturday, 6-10pm
Admission: $20/adult, $10/child
Congressman, carpenters, suffragists, and bootleggers are among the graveyard residents on Capitol Hill, and they all have a unique tale to tell. Congressional Cemetery’s annual Soul Strolls explore these stories through guided tours and costumed interpreters. Typically only open from dawn to dusk, this special event allows nighttime access to the public. Hour-long walks depart every 15 minutes 7-10pm on Friday and 6-9pm on Saturday, with beer, wine, and cider will be for sale (to put you at ease among the spirits).
Where: GWU Museum & Textile Museum | Foggy Bottom, DC
When: Saturday, 10am-4pm
Bring your friends and family for a day of art, music, and thinking outside the box at this special Family Day at the fantastic yet under-the-radar museum. Meet Box Project artist Ai Kijima and watch her turn second-hand scraps of fabric into spunky, vibrant collages. Delve deeper into the captivating exhibition with a scavenger hunt (11am – 2pm). And if you’re feeling inspired, put your own creative spin on The Box Project challenge by designing your own box to take home.
Fall Harvest Family Days
Where: Mount Vernon Estate | Mount Vernon, VA
When: Saturday & Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Admission: $18/adults, $9/kids 6-11, free/under 6 (online)
Celebrate the autumn season at George Washington’s old digs! Watch as a replica of one of Washington’s boats launches into the Potomac River with a costumed crew. Enjoy autumn activities, including wagon rides, wheat treading in the 16-sided barn, 18th-century dancing demonstrations, a straw bale maze, farrier (blacksmithing), corn husk dolls demonstrations and early-American games and music. And Potomac River sightseeing cruises are half-price this weekend only!
Kids Euro Festival
Where: Around the DC-Metro
When: Throughout the weekend
Consider this your passport to two weeks of artistic adventures, as the 10th Annual Kids Euro Festival kicks off Saturday, bringing continental entertainment right to DC. This is the first weekend of the event that will present loads of free performances all around the metro area. Musicians, storytellers, dancers, and puppeteers are just a few of the exciting acts that will perform at a variety of venues through November 5. This weekend alone, enjoy a German story time, see films from Croatia and France, mix it up at a Polish chemistry workshop, and more. Explore the full schedule here.
Air and Scare
Where: Udvar-Hazy Center | Chantilly, VA
When: Saturday, 12-5:30pm
Admission: Free, but parking is $15 until 6pm
See the spooky side of air and space at the Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center’s 11th Annual Air & Scare! Arrive in costume for safe indoor trick-or-treating. Participate in creepy crafts, spooky science experiments, and other Halloween-themed activities. Arrive in costume to get into the Halloween spirit and enjoy safe indoor trick-or-treating.
More Wicked Fun
Where: Around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by activity
This time of year is always a scream with loads of ways to get the Halloween party started early. From mini train rides through the woods to haunted tours to festivals inspired by the holiday, details on where the tricks and treats are happening can be found in this annual post.
18th Century Autumn Market Fair
Where: Claude Moore Colonial Farm | McLean, VA
When: Saturday & Sunday, 11am – 4:30pm
Admission: $8/adults, $3/ages 3-12, free for 2 and under
Enjoy the splendor of autumn at the Claude Moore Colonial Farm’s Autumn Market Fair. Watch colonial Virginia tradesman such as the blacksmith and try crafts such as spinning and dyeing. Learn to dip candles or turn a piece of wood on the carpenter’s lathe. See heritage breed animals including turkeys, pigs and chickens. Enjoy music, games, and dancing as well as interacting with colonial family members in costume and character. Savor spit roasted chicken, sausages, breads and cheeses, roasted olives, pies and other desserts. Colonial Tavern offers cask ale, beers, wine and mulled wine as well as authentic ginger ale. Period food, beverages, and wares available for purchase. It’s a fun and educational experience for the whole family!
Where: The Torpedo Factory | Alexandria, VA
When: Saturday, 12-4pm
Alexandria’s art-filled tradition for families returns for its 22nd year! Art Safari is a day of hands-on activities for kids and accompanying adults. Artists will lead young visitors in creative projects across a variety of media, including clay, fiber, painting, even bottle caps. There All activities are free, most of them appropriate for children ages 5 – 11 and some requiring parental assistance. Children should wear clothing that can get a little dirty.
DC||CX: DC Cyclocross Races
Where: Armed Forces Retirement Home | Petworth, DC
When: Saturday & Sunday
Admission: Kids’ races and to spectate are FREE
Bicycles, cowbells, food trucks, and beer are all part of one of the largest, internationally-sanctioned cycling events in the Mid-Atlantic region, where top-level elite and amateur cyclocross athletes will compete in 36 categorized races over the two days. Kids can get in on the fun, too, both as spectators and in Lil’ Belgian races just for them (even better, registration is free for children ages nine and under). And the public is welcome to watch the action. Registration for junior and adult racers ranges from $15 to $50. BYO bicycles and helmets.
Where: Patuxent Wildlife Refuge
When: Saturday, 10am – 3pm
Discover groundbreaking research conducted at Patuxent! Activities include live animal displays, children’s crafts, tram tours, research exhibits, and behind-the-scenes tours of the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center to see endangered whooping cranes and much more!
Where: Theatres around the DMV
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by venue
* Say arrrgh! to How I Became a Pirate at Adventure Theatre
* Adventures of Peter Pan just opened at Synetic Theatre
* InterAct Story Theatre kicks off a new season of its Wheateon Family Theatre Series with The Town That Cried Avalanche
* Enjoy Robert Post’s Comedy Theatre for Kids at the Kennedy Center
* The Smartest Girl on the World is on the Imagination Stage
* Pinnochio is running at The Puppet Co. (no lie!)
* And little ones will love World on a String, the Tiny Tots show at the puppet theater
* Our Town is now on stage at the Olney Theatre
* Art on the Horizon’s adorable Drumming with Dishes closes after Saturday in Alexandria
* Make it a KidFree outing to Arena Stage for The Price or Native Gardens
* Or have a date night at the Lansburgh Theatre for The Lover & The Collection
* Death of a Salesman, on stage at Ford’s Theatre, is best for ages 13+
* the grandsons, jr. are playing the Saturday morning show at Jammin’ Java
Kids in the Kitchen
Where: YMCA Anthony Bowen | Shaw, DC
When: Saturday, 9am – 1pm
Want your kids to eat smart and learn to make healthy lifestyle choices? Join The Junior League of Washington at Kids in the Kitchen on Saturday for a fun-filled day of games, crafts, hands-on learning, and exciting prizes – all to celebrate and promote nutritional literacy. This free kids health and nutrition event is targeted at children ages 3-13. The Anthony Bowen Y is located at 1325 W Street NW.
Last Call for Merriment
Where: Revel Grove in Crownsville, MD
When: Saturday & Sunday, 10am – 7pm
Admission: $25/age 16+, $10/age 7-15, free/under 7
It’s the final weekend of the Maryland Renaissance Festival, the annual faire that recalls medieval times with an English Tudor village full of fun and entertainment for the whole family. I highly, highly recommend going if you haven’t been yet. And I recommend getting tickets online in advance — they could sell out. Huzzah!
Pumpkin Pony Rides
Where: Rock Creek Horse Center | Rock Creek Park, DC
Make a reservation and dress the kiddos in costumes for this special fall treat at the Rock Creek Horse Center that combine pony rides, face painting, and games. Rides through the woods this time of year will be as pretty as they are fun and ideal for little riders. Costumes should be safe for riding. Plan to make time to hang out longer at Rock Creek to enjoy some nature fun!
Where: The Wharf | Southwest DC
When: Saturday, 1-5pm
Celebrate all things fall at The Wharf! Get in the Halloween spirit with pumpkin bowling, a pumpkin pie-eating contest, and a Halloween costume contest for pets, plus live music by Trailer Grass Orchestra and fall brews in our Waterfront Beer & Wine Garden on Transit Pier. And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the headless horseman, who will make appearances along the pier.
Where: Locust Grove Nature Center | Bethesda, MD
When Saturday & Sunday, 2-3:30p
Fall is the perfect time to sip on fresh apple cider! At Locust Grove Cider Days learn about pollination and the history of apples. You will get to press your own apples in our hand cranked press and then sample the cider and discover some lesser-known apple varieties. Space is limited, so registration required
DC Play Day
Where: Oxon Run Park | Southeast DC
When: Saturday, 11am – 3pm
Join 8 Arts & Culture for a day full of play for all! There will be all kinds of activities to engage families with fun and fitness aimed to inspire health and wellness. Last year’s Play Day impacted over 400 people, from toddlers to seniors. Have fun and help make this year’s event a success, too! Register here.
STEM Middle School Showcase
Where: Union Station, DC
When: Saturday, 1-4pm
Meet 30 young scientists and engineers who are changing the world with their STEM projects at the 2017 Broadcom MASTERS Science and Engineering Project Showcase. Selected out of nearly 2,500 applicants, these middle school innovators will demonstrate their exciting research projects as they compete for more than $100,000 in prizes.
Fall Jazz Night
Where: Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens | Northeast DC
When: Saturday, 4pm
Jazz up your Saturday evening! The National Park Service, Friends of Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, and DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative for a free family fun evening of sweet melodies while you picnic in the park and enjoy the sounds of performing artist JaneliaSoul. Read more about the hidden gem of a park in this KFDC post.
Space4: Arts Community Kickoff
Where: Yards Park | Capitol Riverfront, DC
When: Saturday, 6-8pm
Join CulturalDC and Ward 6 community members to celebrate the launch of SPACE4: Visual Arts, DC’s first-ever mobile arts gallery! They turned a 40-foot shipping container into a fully-renovated, solar-powered exhibition space for local DC artists and can’t wait to share vibrant artistic experiences with communities across DC. This kickoff event will feature food, music, family-friendly performances, and an interactive installation by Salvatore Pirrone.
Fall Back to Bethesda Festival
Where: Rock Creek Mansion on Cedar Lane | Bethesda, MD
When: Sunday, 12-4pm
Admission: $10/child, free for adults
Celebrate fall with the whole family and support the Bethesda Fire Department, NIH Charities, and the metroBethesda Rotary Foundation at the second annual Fall Back to Bethesda Festival organized by metroBethesda Rotary in conjunction with Rock Creek Mansion and Activity Rocket. Join other families from Bethesda, and enjoy games, music, great food and a beautiful setting at Rock Creek Mansion on Cedar Lane. This festival will feature activities for the whole family to enjoy!
Taste of the Harvest
Where: THEARC | Anacostia, DC
When: Sunday, 4-8pm
Celebrate the fall harvest from 11th Street Bridge Park Plots and THEARC Farm! Free activities include live music, dance performances, garlic planting, food stories at the mobile porch, and tours of the farm. Bring snacks or a meal from home and join around a community table to enjoy samples from the gardens from 5-6pm Performances and activities will continue in the evening. RSVP here.
Oatlands Harvest Festival
Where: Oatlands Plantation | Leesburg, VA
When: Sunday, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $20/family, $10/individual
All ages can enjoy hayrides, a mansion walk-through tour, access to the garden and grounds, children’s activities, including a family fun scavenger hunt handout in the Carriage House, Corn Hole Contest and other games, and much more. It’s all included in the admission fee.
The Ins and Outs of DC
Where: Around the area
When: Throughout the weekend
Admission: Varies by adventure
If you’re looking for activities outdoors or inside, depending on the weather or simply your preference, these posts are chock full of evergreen pursuits:
The Great Indoors
The Best Places in the DC Area to Enjoy a Beautiful Day Outdoors with the Kids
Grand Opening Celebration
Where: British Swim School
When: Monday, October 23, 11am
British Swim School, the pioneer of non-traditional infant/toddler water safety programs, is getting ready to open a new Gaithersburg location — and you’re invited to join the grand opening celebration on Monday! Stop by for interactive sessions with swim instructors, meet-and-greets with Mayor Jud Ashman and Gaithersburg Economic Development Director Tom Lonergan, FREE giveaways and enrollment offers, plus the chance to win great raffle prizes from Washingtonian Rio businesses!
KinderCare Learning Campus Grand Opening!
Where: Franklin Farm KinderCare Campus | Herndon, VA
When: Saturday, October 28, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Help KinderCare celebrate the grand re-opening of their Franklin Farm campus! They’re proud to introduce the community to their new campus, which features lower class sizes and an individualized approach to learning that helps children reach milestones and become lifelong learners! Take a tour of the infant cottage and Kindergarten prep school, meet the talented teachers, and learn all about the curriculum. Enjoy a day of fun for the whole family – they’ve got lots to explore. Get into the fall spirit with a pumpkin patch and petting zoo, be amazed by magician Wacky Willy Woo Woo, take a spin on our hayride, and more! Food and drinks will be served, too. The Franklin Farm KinderCare Campus is located at 13228 Franklin Farm Road in Herndon, VA. RSVP here.
***MORE GOOD STUFF TO KNOW***
* Start making some Thanksgiving plans: So Others Might Eat (S.O.M.E.) is holding the 16th annual Trot for Hunger on November 23, which includes a one-mile “Little Turkey” Kids Fun Run followed by a 5k run/walk and more festivities.
* DC Way Soccer is hosting a One Day Camp next Friday, October 27, when DCPS students are off from school. (FYI: My kids love their programs!)
* If you enjoy photographer Pete Souza’s work as much as I do, you may be excited to know his new book is being released November 7, and you can pre-order it now. (Also, his Instagram feed is fantastic!)
* Make some date night dinner plans! Tom Sietsema’s Fall Dining Guide, including a great Top 10 list of restaurants, is out.